Like the documentaries that the Classic
Album Series have released in the past, including Iron Maiden’s Number
of the Beast, Judas Priest’s British Steel, and Deep Purple’s
Machine Head among many other albums, we get the look inside the whole
recording process, the songwriting ideas, and a behind the scenes view
of what really went on. With this particular album, which was something
completely new for Metallica when it comes to the whole recording
process, seemed to almost implode the band, causing Hetfield to even
seek singing instruction.
When you look at the Black Album, it was a new step for Metallica, they
had just recently recruited Bob Rock, who was the man behind the board
on Motley Crue’s smash Dr. Feelgood, which had only been out a few
years earlier, to produce the record; regardless of the bands first
impression of Rock being negative. Rock literally took the band in a
different direction when it came to working together in the studio,
making the band play together at the same time. Up until this point,
Metallica would record themselves separately, with each member doing
their own thing one at a time. This would ultimately add to the friction
between band members and their producer.
But Rock’s vision of the record came together with the marriage of
performing together copulated with various studio tricks that worked
well, making the album sound more raw than overproduced. You have to
remember that this was recorded in the days before Pro-Tools, or any
other major digital audio workstation that might have been placed in
recording studios like they are today; the tricks used here are raw with
pure musicianship. The in-depth look (or should I say in-depth
listening) at the multitrack tapes one track at a time gives us insight
to how such a big sound came about. We hear droned guitars, harmonized
arpeggios, 12-string basses, and other oddities that were not prominent
in the final mix, but yet ambient and crucial to the whole sound. We
also hear how engineering techniques were vital in giving the album its
heavy sound, and we also learn that the mix of “Enter Sandman” set
the tone for how the rest of the album was mixed, being heavy, punchy,
The Classic Albums
DVD was filmed around 2001 giving us a full-committed 93 minutes of
James, Lars, Kirk, Jason and Bob Rock looking back and giving us their
own thoughts on the self-titled Metallica or black album as its known.
This album was a huge hit worldwide. The DVD goes through some of the
biggest hits on the album including clips from the all famous “Enter
Sandman” in which the main riff was created by Kirk jamming!,
"Holier Than Thou", "Sad But True", ”The
Unforgiven” and “Nothing Else Matters”.
My personal favourite
is when they look back on “Wherever I May Roam” when the whole song
consisted of the vocals being nannna naaaana annna and James
saying they were the original lyrics and the song was going to be like
this but the other guys didn’t like them ha ha ha ha ha!!!
Matters” is documented complete with an interview from Michael Kamen,
the man who composed the orchestration on this cut, which was another
thing that was new to Metallica. We also get a look about how the whole
S&M release came together years later with the orchestra, which
completely contrasts the reluctance of the band wanting to use an
orchestra on this song in the first place.
Overall I think this
is a excellent Metallica DVD giving us a great insight to the never
stopping ‘Tallica train.